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His way is the high way - Brooklyn Paper

His way is the high way

High-wire art: East River Skyway would ferry train-weary straphangers through the heavens between Williamsburg and Manhattan.
East River Skyway

This guy wants to get you high before work.

A real estate executive is pitching a network of sky-scraping trams as a way to beat the crowded subway commute between waterfront Brooklyn neighborhoods and lower Manhattan. Under the proposal, the gondola cars would whisk Brooklynites between Dumbo, the Navy Yard, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and spots in Queens and Manhattan. Trams, which are used as a tourist attraction in cities worldwide, are an untapped technology that could alleviate the underground and roadway congestion that is mounting due to development near the waterfront, said Daniel Levy, president of CityRealty, a website for apartment seekers.

“An aerial transportation system would be a relatively inexpensive and quickly-deployable solution here in New York,” he said in a statement.

Levy is seeking private funding for the scheme that he says could speed commuters from Brooklyn to Manhattan in just four minutes, handling as many as 5,000 commuters per hour, and shaving as much as a half hour off of train transit times. In other words, it is perfect for well-heeled Williamsburg residents looking to escape the crunch of the Bedford Avenue L stop without having to leave behind those East River views. The project would cost $225-$300 million, according to a rep for the East River Skyway group.

A longtime advocate for alternative transit networks in Brooklyn, particularly the return of the streetcar to Red Hook, said the gondola scheme is not a bad idea, but that it wouldn’t work without something feeding it. Something like a streetcar.

“Gondola service would take a lot of muscle, but then again [railroad and shipping magnate] Cornelius Vanderbilt started off rowing a ferry between Staten Island and Manhattan, and that took muscle, too,” said Bob Diamond, who once ran a trolley along Beard Street in Red Hook before the city pulled the plug on it along with the idea of a larger streetcar system. “But it needs to be planned out properly. You need a coordinated service plan to distribute people into the neighborhoods.”

Diamond’s Vanderbilt reference could not immediately be verified.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at nhuro‌witz@‌cnglo‌cal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Aerial ambition: The final phase of the proposed gondola plan would service a chunk of the Brooklyn waterfront and points in Queens and Manhattan.
East River Skyway

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